Phenomenology’s contribution to health and illness

A new book on phenomenology and illness entitled Existential Medicine: Essays on Health and Illness is now out, with a chapter by Life of Breath Principle Investigator Havi Carel and PhD student Tina Williams. The book’s editor, Professor Kevin Aho, is the author of Existentialism: An Introduction, Heidegger’s … Read more…

Invisible Suffering: The Experience of Breathlessness (Carel, 2018)

"LUNGTREE VI" - Cover photo by Maja Bjelica

In this book chapter, Havi considers breathlessness from a phenomenological perspective, reframing it as an existential, social, personal, cultural and psychological phenomenon, rather than a medical symptom. (Read more about the book on our blog). Havi Carel. 2018. Invisible Suffering: … Read more…

Chronic breathlessness: re-thinking the symptom (Macnaughton et al, 2018)

The Life of Breath team, like our colleagues at Breathe Oxford, recently responded to the proposal that defining chronic breathlessness as a syndrome might raise awareness of its impact on people’s lives. We stress that more consultation with ‘experts-by-experience’ (patients who experience … Read more…

Smog in a Time of Tobacco Control (Russell, 2017)

While in Delhi for a recent UN convention on tobacco control, anthropologist Andrew Russell reports on widespread ‘astroturfing’ – large multinationals subsidising apparently independent interest groups to secretly (or not so secretly) push corporate interests. Interference, intimidation, emotional blackmail and … Read more…

Chronic breathlessness: re-thinking the symptom (Faull et al, 2018)

Recently it was proposed that defining chronic breathlessness as a syndrome might raise awareness of its impact on people’s lives . Our collaborators at Breath Oxford responded. Their research explores the neuroscience of breathlessness, particularly the networks that generate perceptions. They … Read more…

Listening to the past

How do we ​accurately ​measure hearing loss? In a new paper in The British Journal for the History of Science, Life of Breath researcher Coreen McGuire​ (University of Bristol) and Jaipreet Virdi shed light on ​the career of Dr Phyllis Margaret Tookey Kerridge (1901–1940) – a pioneer … Read more…

Inspiring change: humanities and social science insights into the experience and management of breathlessness

Durham team members Rebecca Oxley and Jane Macnaughton argue that, in order to treat breathlessness more effectively, we need a greater understanding of how it feels to be breathless and how this experience may be communicated. In particular they explore the differences between the way … Read more…

Breath in the technoscientific imaginary

Here, Durham researcher Arthur Rose explores breath as a theme, metaphor and plot device in Science Fiction. Whether used to convey a sense of anticipation, otherness, or even signify life itself, breath is a common motif in artistic media. Drawing on Fahrenheit 451, Star … Read more…

Breathing and Breathlessness in Clinic & Culture

Our PIs, Jane Macnaughton and Havi Carel have contributed a chapter on breathing and breathlessness to a new book, ‘The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities’, in which expert contributors from around the world map out the field of the critical … Read more…

Metaphysics and heavy breathing (or Tippett’s Fourth Symphony)

How can art (in this case, music) illuminate human experience? Here project collaborator Toby Young contemplates Tippett’s Symphony No. 4 (1977), a ‘birth to death piece’ which features amplified human breath, most notably at the start and end. Can experiencing the piece help us understand what … Read more…

Means and ENDS – e-cigarettes, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and global health diplomacy in action

Can e-cigarettes (also called electronic nicotine delivery systems or ENDS) help curb smoking or are they just a smoke screen allowing tobacco companies to keep people addicted to nicotine? And how should global policy makers proceed when uncertainty makes agreement impossible? In … Read more…

Epistemic Injustice and Illness

Both patients and doctors complain of problems communicating with each other. Senior investigator Havi Carel and Ian Kidd consider the possible roots of this. In particular, they explore why patients are vulnerable to ‘epistemic injustice’ where their voice lacks credibility due to presumed lack of knowledge, … Read more…